Native American Outreach
Yellowstone Ecological Research Center has collaborated and worked with several Montana Tribal Community Colleges. Our work with Native American Students has been a source of great pride and a very fulfilling experience.
During the summer of 2012 YERC held a workshop for all 7 Montana Tribal Colleges. This workshop provided the opportunity for Tribal College students and staff to visit the YERC Lab in Bozeman to learn about YERC research. The workshop also entailed student seminar sessions, where students worked alongside YERC staff to learn new geospatial research techniques and tools.
The results of this workshop were a couple of new collaborations. YERC staff worked with the Blackfeet Community College to perform an ecosystem assessment of their reservation. This project involved Native American students performing field work to measure ecological variables and then developing assessments on their reservation.
This work directly resulted in an assessment of the Pacific Northwest 5-state region (WA, OR, ID, MT, WY). These assessments reviewed several long term climate and ecological variables and how they relate with Net Primary Productivity. This assessment helped Native American students see the understand the relationship between climate and ecosystems and learn how to use our COASTER data system.
Following the workshop, an instructor from Chief Dull Knife Community College on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation approached YERC staff about the development of a GIS and Remote Sensing Course. Working with YERC staff member Steve Jay and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chief Dull Knife College obtained an instructional license for ESRI ArcGIS software. YERC staff then assisted the instructor in developing a teaching plan and curriculum to teach Native Students GIS and remote sensing.